The city of Edmonton has achieved a lot of first in terms of Uber and ride-sharing adoption, and now the Albertan municipality is at it again. Uber announced that Edmonton will be the first Canadian city that it will map.
That makes plenty of sense considering the company is now able to operate legally in Edmonton and its drivers can get auto insurance through Intact Insurance and other companies. Of course, the city became the first in the country to adopt regulations to make Uber legal and operate within the limits of the city.
However, Uber’s arrival in Edmonton under the terms of the new bylaw was delayed as the company had not arranged the auto insurance stipulation the province of Alberta demanded. That was cleared up last month when Intact launched its product in the province, including in Edmonton.
Uber has now started to approach Edmonton as a legal market, and will map the city using dozens of mapping cars that will travel through the city. These cars will take images and collect data. Uber is doing a similar project in numerous countries.
“For us, the most important thing for Uber globally is to improve the pickup and drop-off experience,” Manik Gupta, Uber’s head of mapping and a former Google Maps executive, said in an interview Friday.
“I’m sure you have taken an Uber and there have been times where you were waiting for the driver and the driver did not come to the right place or the ETA was wrong,” Gupta said. “Our goal is to really improve the experience and make it magical.”
To push the project around the world, Uber will invest $500 million to create its own maps to bolster the service it currently uses through Google Maps.
“The challenge is, if you look at any third-party provider today, whether it’s Google or any other company whom we work with today, they don’t really solve a problem which is specific to Uber in a complete way,” Gupta said.
Uber plans to map in other Canadian cities soon, Gupta said.